Regional Reports-Midwest

Missouri River

Whether fly-casting Muddler Minnows, pulling crankbaits or working walleye rigs, anglers on the Missouri River tailrace below Garrison Dam have latched onto an abundance of fat and feisty cutthroat trout. Cutthroats are not native to North Dakota, but North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists decided the fish warranted a stocking effort after extensively researching the trouts' potential in the large river system. In 1999 and again this year, 40,000 six- to eight-inch-long cutthroats were added to the tailrace. Biologists say they will stock cutts on an every-other-year basis, alternating with brown trout. Thanks to an excellent forage base of rainbow smelt and ciscoes, the cutthroats doubled in size in less than three months. The state record was broken 10 times in 2000. The current record fish is 7 pounds, 4 ounces. The fish are extremely aggressive feeders, so just about any presentation works, says Hendrickson. Camping is available at Lake Sakakawea State Park, Downstream Campground and Morning Star Campground. Contact: North Dakota Game and Fish Department (701-328-6300; www.state.nd.us/gnf); Lake Sakakawea State Park (701-487-3315); Downstream Campground (877- 444-6777); Morning Star Campground (701-654-7636).